Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of nine projects through the Municipal Assistance Program (MAP) to assist local governments in eight counties with planning for zoning and updating of comprehensive plans.
“Communities must continue to evolve as the needs of their residents change,” said Gov. Wolf. “It is important for counties, townships, and boroughs to meet these needs through the reevaluation of zoning and comprehensive plans. This MAP funding is essential to help communities pave the way to the future.”
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) recently approved $235,500 in funding for nine municipal projects throughout the state. Funding from MAP assists local governments to plan for and efficiently implement municipal projects available in two groups of activities: shared services, and community planning.
The approved projects are as follows:
- $10,000 to Cumberland Township for professional services related to the final stages of their Comprehensive Zoning Re-Write Initiative. The proposed rewrite will complement the recently completed Central Adams Comprehensive Plan. Comprehensive re-zoning is necessary to address the township’s growing population and its ability to provide sustainable quality of life improvements.
- $49,500 to Ohio Township and Franklin Park Borough to update their joint comprehensive plan. This project will explore ways to strengthen the municipalities through economic, social, and environmental aspects of sustainability through taking part in a community engagement comprehensive planning process. This comprehensive plan will be a guidebook for future policy and decision making and will provide true goals and steps to help the borough and township prosper and achieve results.
- $19,000 to Towanda Borough, Towanda Township, and North Towanda Township to update the 2008 Central Bradford Region Comprehensive Plan. Towanda Borough, Towanda Township, and North Towanda Township will work to update the data and strategies laid out in the previous iteration of the comprehensive plan. These updates will reflect the changes that have occurred over the last decade due to the impacts of the natural gas industry on the local economy and provide a framework for a regional perspective on goals and objectives.
- $17,500 to Haycock Township to update its existing zoning ordinance, which has not been updated since 1994. The current zoning ordinance does not adequately reflect existing land use goals of the municipality or the Quakertown Area Planning Committee. The updated zoning ordinance will prepare the township for growth opportunities while keeping with their comprehensive plan.
- $7,500 to Silverdale Borough to develop a comprehensive plan, reimagining the community in a way that allows it to benefit from the volume of cars traveling through the borough and provide a destination for travelers on Route 113. Additionally, it will create a walkable downtown for Silverdale residents. The plan will form the basis for decision making, priority setting, and local codes and ordinances as they relate to community development, community preservation, and quality of life.
- $30,000 to Cranberry Township to conduct a commercial core redevelopment study. Cranberry Township’s existing non-residential core was built largely on principles of auto-centric land development patterns that are less sustainable and highly segregated from other land uses. Today, there are few incentives for the private market to risk reinvesting into the existing non-residential properties that currently yield high return. Given the history of other suburban communities, it is likely future development will push further into the rural vicinities and abandon the current infrastructure investment. This study will allow the township to identify implementable redevelopment strategies that encourage private reinvestment into the community’s core.
- $15,000 to Curwensville Borough to update their comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance. This update is to prioritize inter-community pedestrian and biking connections, the borough’s sidewalk rehabilitation program, stormwater management vision, and address their zoning ordinance to be better prepared to help drive development and future land use goals.
- $50,000 to Lycoming County to update their zoning ordinance and subdivision and land development ordinance. Through a combination of in-kind services by the Lycoming County planning department and the work of a professional planning consultant, the county’s ordinance updates will create appropriate areas of opportunity and reflect the changes needed to encourage and revitalize economic development in areas that have traditionally been under-utilized.
- $37,000 to Venango County to update their county comprehensive plan, which has not been updated since 2004. The new plan will express the priorities of all facets of the county. This plan will prioritize community involvement with the goal of sustaining the highest quality of life for county residents and provide for the health, safety, and welfare of all.
The Municipal Assistance Program provides technical resources and assistance for municipalities, consolidation, regional efforts as well as serving as a resource for local government officials, developers, and citizens interested in planning to improve, grow, and enhance communities. More about MAP and other initiatives can be found on the DCED website.